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World Handloom Day

Handloom production the world over did and would make artisans self-respecting,
self-reliant, self-supporting and last but not least, humanly. It would to teach us how to
organise our capital, our resources, our labour, our energies, our talents, for the
greatest good of all human beings says Dr. D. Narasimha Reddy, a well known textile
policy analyst. Promotion of handloom sector should be accompanied by the advocacy of
the environmental conservation and boycott of polluting textile goods.
World Handloom Day is aimed at arousing sentiments of the people towards history,
present and future. It would lead to reminiscing the past, analyzing the present and
building a sustainable future. To celebrate such a Day has many implications. It can
create economic pressure on textile competition, a weapon of political agitation against
discrimination and a training in self-sufficiency for the attainment of growth in handloom
sector.
Scholars have long recognized the co-existence of small-scale, decentralized production
with large-scale capitalist enterprise. But the resurgence of small-scale manufacture in
recent years suggests that smaller units are not simply some "survival" of an earlier stage
of development but an integral part of the emerging structure of contemporary capitalism.
In the textile industry, the importance of small "handloom" factories has grown in recent
years from a place of virtual write-off to one of inevitable in the Indian market. A
complex set of productive relations have mark the growth of handloom industry,
including sub-contracting and more informal (but often more intense) forms of control
over labor.
On World Handloom Day, there is a need to explore the origins, consolidation and
expansion of the handloom industry, examining a series of questions central to
understanding its growth. What technological changes and structural shifts made possible
the emergence of this sector during the late colonial period? How have the domestic cloth
market, technological changes, structural shifts and the policies of the Indian state
affected the handloom industry? What forms of production relations and control over
labor have been associated with the handlooms and how have these affected labor's
capacity to organize?
Celebration of World Handloom Day will contribute not only to an understanding of the
rise of the handloom industry, but to a more general appreciation of the factors that have
promoted decentralized production globally in a wide range of industries.
It is important that on this Day, changes in the structure and technology of handloom
manufacture need to be mapped, since this was the foundation upon which the handloom
industry could develop and sustain even after modern industrialisation. It shows how
small-scale weaver-entrepreneurs, employing a small number of family workers, could
survive. Key to the success of these efforts was the capacity of weaver-capitalists for
"flexible specialization," that is, the ability to adjust the new forms of technology to
narrow, specialized, and fluctuating markets. Celebration of Handloom Day should

Contact: Dr. D. Narasimha Reddy, e-mail: nreddy.donthi@gmail.com

enable the exploration of the forms of production relations inherent in early handloom
sector, demonstrating how the continued recruitment of labor from within artisanal
neighborhoods and caste groupings also contributed to the flexibility of the early forms of
handloom production.
One of the secrets to the success of the industry is a system of ethnic entrepreneurship in
which business people rely on informal networks based on ties of kinship, caste and
sectarian membership, and place of origin. Participation in these networks gives
merchants and manufacturers access to community resources such as pooled knowledge
and capital. These flexible networks also allow them to keep down production and
distribution costs, react quickly to market fluctuations, match supply with demand, and
even to avoid onerous government restrictions.
History of industrialization in India had been determined by political conflicts and
contradictions rather than technological diffusion and innovation alone. Until recently, it
was taken for granted that the factory was the inevitable outcome of the transition from
handicraft to manufacture. Its emergence has been variously explained in terms of
economies of scale, the facility it afforded for the closer supervision and control of labor
and the need for owners to create a role for themselves within the production process.
Taking the Spirit of Swadeshi Movement
Every movement owes to some ideological context or other, but in case of the Swadeshi
Movement of 1905-07 it is more so. It constitutes a great stride in the annals of modern
history so much so that it was the cumulative effect of an indigenous Indian nationalist
thought-structure or what may be called, the genuine Indian variant of nationalism. It
underscored the expression of veritable soul of Indian nationhood in right perspective.
Nationhood is primarily aimed at protecting local livelihoods and local resources. In this
sense, Swadeshi movement has been very helpful for handloom sector. Hence, 7th August
becomes an important day for handloom sector.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak had been consistently emphasizing on 'Swaraj' as the birth right of
people right since 1896. He availed the support of likeminded heavy weights like Bipin
Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai and Aurobindo Ghose in his rank.
The concept of Swaraj was tinged with Swadharma and Swabhasa. This kind of
indigenous world view inextricably interwoven with the land and society became the
inbuilt intellectual bedrock by the turn of the century. 'Bande Mataram' edited by
Aurobindo Ghose and Bipin Chandra Pal wrote, "Swaraj as a sort of European ideal......
will not awaken India. Swaraj as the fulfillment of the ancient life of India under modern
conditions, the return of the 'Satyayuga' (era of the truth) of national greatness, the
resumption of her great role of teacher and guide, self-liberation of the people for the
final fulfillment of the Vedantic ideal in politics, this is the true Swaraj for India".

Contact: Dr. D. Narasimha Reddy, e-mail: nreddy.donthi@gmail.com

Swadeshi literally meaning of ones own country, aimed at the promotion of


indigenous industries for strengthening the nation! In the words of Lala Lajpat Rai, The
Swadeshi movement ought to make us self-respecting, self-reliant, self-supporting and
last but not least, manly. The Swadeshi movement ought to teach us how to organise our
capital, our resources, our labour, our energies, our talents, for the greatest good of all
Indians. The promotion of Swadeshi was accompanied by the advocacy of the boycott
of foreign goods. It aimed at arousing national sentiments of the people. To Tilak, Pal and
Aurobindo Ghosh, boycott had many implications. It was an economic pressure on
Manchester, a weapon of political agitation against imperialism and a training in selfsufficiency for the attainment of Swaraj.
This movement started first of all in Bengal. Mass meetings were held all over Bengal
where use of Indian goods and boycott of British goods were proclaimed and pledged. At
many places public burnings of foreign cloth were organised; Shops selling foreign cloth
were picketed. According to Surendra Nath Banerji, Swadeshi movement during the
days of its potency changed the entire texture of our social and domestic life. Marriage
presents that included foreign goods, the like of which could be manufactured at home,
were returned. Priests would often decline to officiate at ceremonies where foreign
articles were offered as oblations to the gods. Guests would refuse to participate in
festivities where foreign salt or foreign sugar was used.
The Swadeshi movement was a great success. All sections of the society rose as one in
the anti-partition movement. Students of Bengal played a prominent part in the
movement. The traditionally home-centred women of the urban middle classes joined the
movement in a big way. Surendranath Banerjee, RabindranathTagore, Satish Chandra
Mukherjee, Moti Lal Ghosh, Ananda Mohan Bose, Romesh Chandra Dutta, Bipin
Chandra Pal, Ashvini Kumar Dutta, Ambika Charan Mazumdar and K.K. Mitra were
some of the prominent leaders of the anti-partition movement. The principal
organisations that took part were the Dawn Society Bande Mataram Sampradaya, the
Anti-Circular Society and the Swadeshi Samaj.
The message of Swadeshi and boycott of foreign goods soon spread to the rest of the
country. Lokmanya Tilak popularised the movement in Poona and Bombay. Lala Lajpat
Rai and Ajit Singh spearheaded the Swadeshi and boycott movements in Punjab and
other parts of northern India. Syed Haider Raza led the movement in Delhi and
Chidambaram Pillai in Madras presidency. Bipin Chandra Pal's extensive tour helped to
galvanize the movement in southern India. The leadership of the anti-partition movement
soon passed into the hands of those leaders who were later called the Extremists. They
saw the futility of constitutional means and advocated passive resistance in addition to
'Swadeshi' and 'Boycott'. Some nationalist leaders believed in extending the boycott to
include boycott of government schools and colleges, courts, titles and government
services and even of organising strikes. The aim was to make the administration under
the conditions then present impossible by an organised refusal to do anything which
could help either the British Commerce in the exploitation of the country or the British
officialdom in the administration of it. Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai and Bal

Contact: Dr. D. Narasimha Reddy, e-mail: nreddy.donthi@gmail.com

Gangadhar Tilak were the leaders of this faction of the national leadership. But the
moderates, by and large, were not as yet willing to go that far.
The movement gave a stimulus to the growth of indigenous industries and crafts in India.
Swadeshi factories came into existence everywhere. The period witnessed the growth of
Swadeshi textile mills, soap and match factories, tanneries, banks, insurance companies,
shops, etc. The Bengal Chemicals Factory of Acharya P.C. Ray became quite successful
and famous.
The Swadeshi movement made a deep impact in the cultural sphere. The Swadeshi
influence could be seen in Bengali folk music, science and art too. The songs composed
by Rabindranath Tagore, Rajani Kanta Sen and Syed Abu Mohammad became the
moving spirits for nationalists of all hues. Rabindranath's Amar Sonar Bangla written
during that time was adopted by Bangladesh as its national anthem on its liberation in
1971.
There are several aspects to this movement, including controversies and failure. Dr. D. D.
Pattaniak says, The Swadeshi movement, despite its popular mass character, gradually
petered out by mid 1908. This was due to several reasons. Firstly, the repressive policy of
the colonial state crushed the movement. Secondly, the internal squabbles among the
nationalist leaders undermined the potency of the movement. Thirdly, the movement was
left leaderless owing to large scale deportation of its prominent leaders. Between 1907
and 1908, nine major leaders of the movement were deported. Tilak was given a sentence
of six years imprisonment, and Ajit Singh and Lala Lajpat Rai were arrested and deported
to Mandalay in Burma (Myanmar). Chidambaram Pillai and Harisarvottam Rao from
Madras and Andhra were also arrested. Bipin Chandra Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh retired
from politics. Fourthly, the Swadeshi movement lacked an effective organisation and
party structure.
It was said that, though the Swadeshi movement failed to achieve its immediate
objectives, one needs to acknowledge that it was the first round in the popular
national struggle against colonialism and bequeathed a legacy on which the later
national movement was to draw heavily.
In 2015
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyayas philosophy has been the guiding spirit for many persons.
Further, followers of his kind of philosophy have ensured the continuation of handloom
weaver livelihoods, even while similar method of textile production has almost vanished
from most of the countries across the globe. India is the only country, which ensured that
handloom weavers continue and draw sustenance. Unions Governments Make-in-India
programme easily accommodates Pandit Upadhyayas thought process, which encourages
India-based production of goods and services.
Prime Ministers Focus on development and proven ability to get results has raised hopes
and aspirations of handloom weavers, and consumers of handloom products. His promise

Contact: Dr. D. Narasimha Reddy, e-mail: nreddy.donthi@gmail.com

to build a nation that is strong, prosperous and inclusive is a definite indicator of your
commitment to promote handloom sector, which is rooted in Indian culture and ethos.
From 2008, we have been celebrating World Handloom Day, on 7th August, every
year. This date has been chosen because of the historical connection and its importance in
recognizing the need to include handloom weaver communities in Indian Freedom
Struggle on the same day in 1907. Election of Sri. Narendra Modi from Varanasi, the big
handloom cluster and world famous for its intricately designed silk sarees on handlooms
indicates the connect between your knowledge, perception and action. For the past 8
years, progressively individuals, organisations and governments have become involved in
various activities on this day.
Given the above, this year, government of India should initiate unprecedented scale
of activities for the oncoming World Handloom Day, on 7th August, 2015. A hugely
successful Mann Ki Baat can be one of the activities on the day. Handloom weaver
communities are expecting a refreshing, new and out-of-the-box solutions to their
problems. As a true representative of the legacy and thoughts of Pandit Deendayal
Upadhyaya, Narendra Modi, as Prime Minister, is in a unique position to respond to these
expectations, positively. Recently, in Germany, he broached the subject of climate
change and the leadership of India in reuse, recycle and environmental protection through
its traditions and practices. Ingrained deeds deliver results than mere words. Handloom
sector, in textiles, is a symbol of three Es economy, environment and employment
and truly a practice that needs encouragement and support.
WORLD
HANDLOOM
DAY
WOULD
MARK
BEGINNING
OF
AN
EFFORT
TO
ENHANCE
GROWTH
OF
HANDLOOM
SECTOR,
REVIVE
LIVELIHOODS
OF
HANDLOOM
WEAVERS
PROTECTION OF SCARCE NATURAL RESOURCES.
DR. D. NARASIMHA REDDY

Contact: Dr. D. Narasimha Reddy, e-mail: nreddy.donthi@gmail.com

THE
THE
THE
AND

HISTORY OF HANDLOOM
Hand-made textiles serve as records of a cultures history and values. From the work of
traditional handloom weavers, the uses, meanings and stories associated with the
handloom sector provide a wealth of possible expressions. Handloom has been around
since the first men and women threw linen yarns over a tree branch and started braiding.
Fabrics and spinning tools have been found among the earliest relics of human habitation.
India is one place where handloom has been a continuous art form. While exact dates are
hard to pinpoint, there has been evidence of cotton weaving in India since 3000 B.C. Silk
weaving started in China around 1000 B.C. and spread across the Indian subcontinent.
Excavations revealed that, nearly five million years ago, the spinning and weaving of
cotton was known to the Harrappans. Archaeological evidence from Mohenjo-Daro
establishes that the complex technology of mordant dyeing was being used in the
subcontinent from at least the second millennium B.C. Scripts of Buddhist era reveal that
woolen carpets were known in India as early as 500 B.C. Ancient scripts mention various
materials used in spinning and different methods of spinning.
Chinese literature mentioned some varieties of Indian fabrics, indicating early exports of
India. Marco Polo's records show exports to China and South East Asia from South
Indian ports. A hoard of block printed and resists dyed fabrics, mainly of Gujarati origin,
were found in the tombs of Fostat, Egypt. They were exported in the early medieval times
from India to the Egyptian countries. Silk fabric was exported to Indonesia in the 13th
century. The British East India Company had begun exports of Indian silks and cotton
fabrics to different countries in the 17th century. Before the introduction of mechanized
means of spinning in the early 19th century, all Indian cottons and silks were hand spun
and hand woven.
Some historians have concluded that India may have given birth to textile printing.
India's historical prominent role in textile production stems from its wealth in natural
resources which are silk, cotton and jute. Prior to colonization, India's manually operated
textile machines were among the best in the world and these served as a model for
production of the first textile machines in newly industrialized Britain and Germany.
Because of British, India once one of the leading textile exporters became a net importer
of these textiles in the year 1880. This situation continued till it got independence.
The first color - Indigo - is commonly considered the first colored dye. This dark blue
was the predominant color in the funeral wardrobe of Tutenkhamen and the only color
found in linen fragments of ancient Israel and Palestine. Even the Bible speaks of "blue
clothes" traded by the merchants of Sheba.
4th Century - The major textile trade, the silk route had begun and Indigo and
handloom silks and cottons were highly priced commodities.
1602 - Two small ships of the English East India Company sailed into modern-day

Contact: Dr. D. Narasimha Reddy, e-mail: nreddy.donthi@gmail.com

Indonesia. They establish their first trading post on Java and started to dominate trade
between Britain and Asia for the next 300 years.
Around 1700, the industrial revolution effectively wiped out the handloom industry in
most parts of Europe.
1991 - India opens its economy through a liberalization plan orchestrated by Manmohan
Singh.
1995 - India enters the World Trade Organization (WTO)
2005 - Due to WTO rules, subsidies for handloom weavers are cut or severely curtailed.
Another history
The handloom was devised about 2,000 years ago and was brought to England by the
Romans. The process consisted of interlacing one set of threads of yarn (the warp) with
another (the weft). The warp threads are stretched lengthwise in the weaving loom. The
weft, the cross-threads, are woven into the warp to make the cloth.
Weaving remained unchanged for hundreds of years until John Kay devised the flying
shuttle, which enabled a weaver to knock the shuttle across the loom and back again
using one hand only. The speed of weaving was doubled; and a single weaver could make
cloths of any width, whereas previously two men sat together at a loom to make broad
cloth. By 1800, it was estimated that there were 250,000 handlooms in Britain.

Contact: Dr. D. Narasimha Reddy, e-mail: nreddy.donthi@gmail.com